not the guy that thinks every discussion of The Dark Knight turns on
an opinion about Batman Begins. Not so with Louis Leterrier’s upcoming The
Incredible Hulk
, which has an explicitly and rather shamelessly stated
goal of wiping out the film Ang Lee released in 2003. Granted, I’m also not one
to mount a defense of Lee’s Hulk; I’ve seen it once and wasn’t
at all taken with it. (Obvious moments aside.) But both the film’s vociferous
defense team and the new flick suggest I should go back and take another look.

Leterrier, the director who cherishes craniums to the point he couldn’t fail to use The
Leader as a bad guy, has spoken a bit to Wizard
about Lee’s movie (again) and decisions that led to The Abomination’s presence
as his film’s central villain.

2003 film gets a boilerplate dismissal: “It was very interesting. [But] it was
weaker ground to build a big franchise upon so we decided to scrap it and
establish it from bases that are more comic book-based and TV show-based.
” Does
that mean this film is intended to be more like comics and television, or that
it would lead more naturally to them? Can’t get much more like a comic book
than Lee’s film, even with his too-heady script. Too bad Chris Claremont never
wrote The Hulk.

also talked about the choice to go with The Abomination. “The Abomination, Emil
Blonsky, was who Marvel wanted to put in this chapter—the first chapter of our
new saga—because he’s the most famous.

The most famous? To fans, maybe, but Marvel isn’t making this or any movie ‘for
fans’. And people on the street wouldn’t know The Abomination from Ryl’yeh.
Also mentioned was his ability to actually threaten the Hulk, which is a nice
enough point ("
So with Abomination there’s actually a monster that can, you know, kill him when he’s in the Hulk form.") but I still figure the cute Abomination will simply look great as
a doll and video game character.

mentions of The Leader and Thunderbolt Ross, Leterrier touches on most of the
major characters. What he doesn’t get onto is the notion that, after Spider-Man
alienated fans with a villain trio, this film might be too packed with
characters. What? SM3 made a disappointing $891m worldwide? (So it might have made money.) I’d have expected more comments about Doc Samson’s presence, but maybe that recent script review blew those doors open.

The Incredible Hulk stars and is
written (to some extent or another) by Ed Norton, with Liv Tyler as Betty Ross,
William Hurt as Thunderbolt Ross, Tim Roth as Emil Blonsky, Tim Blake Nelson as The Leader and Ty Burrell as Doc Samson. It goes gamma on June 13, 2008.